In early 2018, Microsoft spoke to developers about bringing keyboard and mouse support to their console, the Xbox One. Leaked documents that Windows Central has seen suggest that Microsoft wanted to bring keyboard and mouse support to the April Xbox dev kit update. According to Windows Central, “Redmond showed off the sofa-friendly Razer Turret keyboard and mouse peripheral in partnership with Razer, who joined Microsoft for the presentation.”
The presentation had details of a Razer and Microsoft partnership giving Razer Chroma RGB lighting support directly to Xbox One in games. The presentation also had some details about ‘support’ along with ‘rules and guidelines’ for the use of the keyboard and mouse especially for multiplayer gaming.
Starting with support, the Xbox One could support a mouse with up to 5 buttons, support for wheel movement (both horizontal and vertical), set cursor visibility and more. It must be noted that gamepad support was still a requirement for all titles and the keyboard and mouse support was in extension to the gamepad.
Moving over to guidelines, Microsoft encourages developers to monitor how the keyboard and mouse is used against those playing with a gamepad. Multiplayer balance is completely up to the title. Presence of the keyboard and mouse can be there for multiplayer games but its usage against those playing with a gamepad should me monitored. Microsoft highly suggested separate matchmaking for those playing with a keyboard and mouse.
The presentation went on to say that there would be support on the Xbox for all USB mice that worked on Windows including mice with wireless dongles. Mice with custom drivers or Bluetooth connectivity would not be supported. Microsoft has also said that it would include an API for developers to detect mouse and keyboard accessories that mimic controller inputs unfairly.
All of the above was supposed to be a part of the April 2018 update for developers and there is no information available whether the update was successfully delivered to them.
Keyboard and mouse support for the Xbox One is a no brainer. It will open up the console to a whole new market of gamers that want a console but with the keyboard and mouse experience. We have a few gamers in the Digit office patiently waiting for the keyboard and mouse to become functional on a console. Games like Halo Wars and more have controller support but any gamer will tell you that a strategy game like WOW, Age of Empires, Halo Wars and more are best experienced with a keyboard and mouse.
It looks like Microsoft wants to cater to every gamer out there. At E3 2018, Microsoft announced that it was hard at work on the next Xbox along with a game streaming service. Now the only thing left is a handheld Xbox. Microsoft one said that it would bring Mixed Reality support to the Xbox One X, but it looks like it has scrapped those plans. Microsoft says that Mixed Reality is best experienced on a PC.